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Rude Wonders

Independent health store advice on natural help for sleep and relaxation

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health stores can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This issue we speak to Elise Sheenan, manager of Natural Choice in Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan

A good night’s sleep is something that we all really struggle to achieve from time to time, but for some people lack of a proper good night’s sleep can really impact on their daily lives. Not getting the required seven to eight hours the experts recommend we all need to function properly can cause us to feel more stressed throughout the day, feeling the cold more, feeling hungrier and craving a quick fix. If this becomes more than just the odd disrupted night’s sleep, we quickly start to feel less energetic, under stress and for some people, overwhelmed by their daily duties. If this continues long term, a lot of people consider looking for natural solutions to try to feel more relaxed during the day and therefore not feeling so stressed out by bedtime.

Cutting back on our sugar and caffeine intake and switching off our phones earlier are all simple steps in helping us to wind down before we hit our pillows. As the days get longer and brighter more people try to take 10-15 minutes out of their day to walk around their local town or park to get some much needed fresh air and exercise. Meeting a friend for a chat or a walk in the country is something everyone should try to fit into their week. For others, some reflexology or an aromatherapy massage could offer relaxation and time out to recharge. Check out your local shops or libraries for information on classes in yoga, meditation or pilates.

In the health food store we meet people on a daily basis looking for natural remedies for sleep and relaxation. Fortunately there is a lot of help at hand. For some, herbal teas would be the first go-to – camomile, lemon balm or a night time blend is always worth trying. Others prefer essential oils either for massage or an oil burner – neroli, lavender or frankincense are all good. Herbal wise, there is passion flower, valerian and avena sativa. Always check with your doctor before taking any herbal remedies.

Magnesium is a mineral a lot of people find helps to relax their muscles and ease tension if they suffer with cramping or twitching at night. If swallowing tablets is a problem, using magnesium in spray form is very effective.

Gardening is another way to get us outdoors, and people find getting their hands into the earth and planting seeds and growing vegetables very therapeutic. The sense of achievement and satisfaction from growing our own vegetables and seeing flowers come into bloom is something very simple, but worthwhile. It doesn’t matter what size your garden is or whether you live in the town or country, gardening is an enjoyable pastime. A lot of towns have allotments or a simple window box can be good for growing herbs.

Baking is another way a lot of people like to relax. There are so many recipes and ingredients available now in the shops, be it scones or baking a special treat for a coeliac family member. Why not try a simple relaxation CD to help you wind down after a hard day’s work? Light a candle and try some soothing essential oils, for example, neroli, lavender or ylang ylang in the bath or with some Dead Sea salts thrown in to help you work towards that better night’s sleep. Flower remedies are always worth a try and there is a vast array to choose from and these are simple to use and inexpensive. You can find the right flower remedy practitioner or simply choose one to match your symptoms. They are non-habit forming and can help our emotional wellbeing and are very useful to have in our homes for all the family to use at times of stress and upheaval.

Who’s who and what’s what at Natural Choice in Carrickmacross

Elise Sheenan is the manager at Natural Choice. “I took over the business in 1999 and opened it in new premises in Parnell St. We are on a side street and the shop is small but it goes a long way back. Every nook and cranny is filled with products – and customers often call it an aladdin’s cave. Ours is a friendly family business and my mum Dympna and sister Anita work with me too.

“Carrickmacross serves a lot of surrounding towns. Monaghan as a county doesn’t have many health stores and we are quite near Louth, so we get customers from border areas too. Our clientele has changed in recent years – we get a lot more younger people coming in now, from teenagers up to parents of young children and seniors. Health stores seem to have become more mainstream.

“I would say we are half and half with food and supplements. Our food section is broad with a lot of gluten-free options such as flours, pasta, muesli, porridge, sauces and bars. Popular staples include chickpeas, linseeds, mixed seeds and nuts. Regular organic porridge is a big seller in our shop. Our fridge holds probitiocs and vegan cheese as well as healthy oils. Local honey is very popular and I need to order it quite often. Herbal teas are big sellers. A new introduction has been sauerkraut and kimchi. Dried seaweed is in big demand.

“We stock around 30 different essential oils in blends and separate oils and also a range of incense. Our supplements section is wide with about six brands at different price points.

“Eco cleaning products are popular and we would have washing up liquids, laundry liqiid, multi-surface cleaning, floor cleaner, dishwasher tablers and limescale remover among other products.

“Beauty is becoming more popular with younger customers – there is big demand for cleanser, moisturiser, deodorant, hair dye and feminine hygiene products and we sell a lot of toothpaste.

“We have good links with natural practitioners in Carrickmacross including a kinesiologist, acupuncturist and relexologist and can refer customers on in they need help. Our salt lamps and pipes sell well too.”

Visit: The Natural Choice, 1 Parnell St, Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, speak to: Manager Elise Sheenan, Dympna McCrystal and Anita McCrystal.

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